Many meditation practices originate from the mystical tradition and emphasize the power of words. Zen Buddhism, the Jewish mystical tradition known as Kabbalah and chanting the Hare Krishna, are examples that were drawn on later by the self-help movement. Ancient prayer techniques are being updated and gaining attention worldwide.
Kabbalah expert Yehuda Berg advocates in his book, "The 72 Names of God: Technology for the Soul," the meditation and invoking of Hebrew names as a code to connect with the divine, including for health benefits.
Islam has a strong tradition of meditating and reciting on the 99 "most beautiful names of God." Certain Benedictine monks taught a mantra-style prayer phrase, "Maranatha." John Main, a prominent figure in Christian meditation, was a keen follower of this Christian mysticism practice.
Meditation on scripture can be performed as a mantra, using any school of meditation you choose. Meditation is gaining acceptance as a positive, complementary therapy by the health community for stress relief. The practice underwent clinical, healthcare trials in 2008 and 2009 in the U.S.
Choose and memorize a specific scripture that you want to work on in your meditation session to promote positivity and healing. Islam, for example, promotes the memorization and recitation of healing-specific Koranic scriptures. You may use whatever religious text you are comfortable with, for example, reciting the words of Jesus in the New Testament Gospels is one form of Scripture in use for healing meditation work.
Focus your mind utterly on a single point, like your breath, as in the technique Anapanasati, which involves shiftting your concentration to follow the breath, known popularly as "mindfulness breathing."
Try a verbal manta, such as humming a high pitch, the Benedictine "Maranatha" or Hare Krishna mantras on the name of God, if the breathing technique doesn't bring you into a deep level of concentration and relaxation.
Continue until you reach the desired level of consciousness. Bring the scriptural words into your mind, replacing the breath or mantra as the point of focus. Actively imagine yourself as soft clay, remoldable to the words of your chosen scripture.
Recite the scripture, either as a repeated mantra, or as part of a personal prayer.
Repeat the meditation and recitation/prayer technique to work your way through the desired scriptures, meditating on a single statement at a time.
Try five minutes of meditation to begin with and develop your concentration up to 30 minutes. The development of concentration is a key goal and benefit of meditation.
Use visualization to drift into the ideal relaxed state of concentration. One used in Zen Buddhism is to imagine yourself as a pebble falling beneath the water until you hit the ocean bed.
For the untrained, attempting a long period of meditation can do more harm than good to your mental and physical health. Beware that meditation can be an intense experience that can provoke tension and discomfort, if the practitioner is undeveloped.
- PubMed.gov: Clinical Trials of Meditation Practise In Healthcare:Characteristics and Quality
- "God-in-the-Present-Moment: Prayer in the 21st Century"; Hedley Beare; 2008
- ClinicalTrials.gov: A Clinical Trial of the Transcendental Meditation Program
- bible image by pearlguy from Fotolia.com